Qatar investment pulled by Sussex PCC over human rights abuse fears

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Qatar imported hundreds of thousands of construction workers for the 2022 World Cup

Concerns about human rights abuse have prompted the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner to withdraw £6m invested in Qatar.

Katy Bourne made the decision after members of an independent audit committee criticised the investment.

Committee member Mike Heap said: "Lending money to Qatar does seem to jar with everything we say about equality, diversity and how we like to go about our business."

In 2019, £20m was invested in Qatar.

Image caption,
Katy Bourne is the police and crime commissioner for Sussex

The £6m pulled now represents more than half of the PCC's £11.4m investments as of March 31, the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported.

The year before, the total investment figure was £46.5m, with just under half going to Qatar.

The decision comes after a report from human rights group Amnesty International said thousands of people were exploited by unscrupulous employers and were not being paid for their work in 2019.

As well as Qatar's record with labour laws, its attitude to LGBQT+ people was also questioned by the committee.

Image source, Eddie mitchell
Image caption,
Brighton Pride in Sussex is one of the largest Pride festivals in the country

Mr Heap said: "Lending money to a country that still outlaws homosexuality is something we should probably look to trade out of."

Mrs Bourne said she shared those concerns and added: "Human rights observers say, whilst progress is being made, there is still a long way to go.

"I will be withdrawing our investment in Qatar and I have asked for a review across our investment portfolio."

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